Nishimoto Earns Karate Honors

Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - April 07, 2010
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Karate champ Jeren Nishimoto (left) trains every weekday with Sensei George Kotaka and Eimi Kurita (not pictured). Photo from Dean Nishimoto.

For more than half of his short life, 11-year-old Jeren Nishimoto has been active in karate, and the Hawaii Kai youth’s commitment and hard work have earned him numerous national and state titles, including recognition at the All Hawaii Karate State Championships last November.

The 50th anniversary event attracted more than 400 competitors from around the world, and Nishimoto took top honors as its Most Outstanding Competitor. “He’s earned other national titles, but this one is special because it’s the 50th anniversary of the tournament, and it’s the biggest event here,“said his father, Dean.

A Niu Valley Middle School sixth-grader, Jeren amassed the most points by winning 24 of the 29 individual matches to earn seven gold, three silver and two bronze medals. The 4-foot-8-inch competitor in the Hawaii Kai-based International Karate Federation school also took home a trophy that is 6 feet high.

“He’s been training for some time now so he’s very self-disciplined,” Dean said. “Mom is very strict about school, and he knows he needs to keep his grades up, so he does well in school and has a 3.6 gpa.”

Nishimoto trains every weekday with Sensei’s George Kotaka and Eimi Kurita. His training also extends to the weekends and into his home. It’s a constant sparring match at the Nishimoto home between Jeren and his 14-year-old sister Tahra.

“Tahra signed up at the same time as Jeren, and they’re both junior black belt, so they’re very competitive with each other,” added Dad.“She’s out on a dislocated shoulder right now, but she’s almost back to normal.”

This summer Jeren hopes to expand his travels with a trip to New York and the West Coast for nationals.


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